The end of an era can only mean the beginning of another.
The last few days have been a roller coaster of emotions for Sens fans. We've gone from excited, to anxious, to completely dejected in only a matter of days.
When Alfredsson announced that he would return for one more year, most fans were absolutely thrilled with his decision... Then, as the free agent deadline approached, rumours of Eugene Melnyk's financial troubles surfaced and Sens fans started to feel uneasy. Fast forward to today, and there's a sense of betrayal looming in the Nation's Capital. We're angry, but we don't know who is responsible for our anger. I still can't believe I'm writing this, but Daniel Alfredsson is moving on.
I can't help but feel *insert negative emotion here*, but mostly I'm curious. Something must have happened during the negotiating process that made Daniel Alfredsson sign elsewhere. Whether it's the organization's unwillingness to spend some money to make the team competitive, or whether it's because he truly believes that Detroit is the next team to hoist the Stanley Cup is purely speculation at this point. The clear message here is that Alfredsson doesn't believe this team can compete for a cup. If our best players say the team isn't "good enough" to compete -- especially when resigning is supposed to be a slam dunk, a no brainer, a sure thing, a done deal...you get the point -- then what does that say about our organization?
We all knew it was only a matter of time before we had to cheer on our Senators without Daniel Alfredsson, and we all thought that the breakup would happen in a smooth and mutual way, making it easier to accept. But, much like most breakups, this decision came out of left field and has completely shocked (probably not the right word) Sens fans.
Ususally, I'm not much of an optimist, but we have to look on the bright side. We had some great years which yielded great memories for most Sens fans, but now it's time to move on. The Senators are a promising group of young players with tons of talent, and the sobering thought is that we have another Swede poised for at least a decade of great memories (Erik, don't hurt us, we're extemely fragile).
Now that our worst nightmare has come true, the question is: Will this decision affect Alfredsson's untarnishable reputation here in Ottawa? Short-term, maybe, but long-term, definitely not.
It's normal for Sens fans to be angry, at first, but once the dust settles, and the pain is not so fresh and becomes but a memory, it's important to remember that Alfredsson will always be the greatest Senator in franchise history. His number 11 should still be retired and admired by all Sens fans regardless. Don't forget that this is a man who has done so much for the franchise, a man who has contributed enormously to the city, and has been unselfish for nearly two decades. I think it's acceptable for him to act selfishly for once, don't you?
They say a captain must go down with his ship, but in this case, I'm glad to see my captain play another year, even if it is while wearing another jersey. Besides, Ottawa's ship isn't going down. If anything, it's on the rise, and that's something to look forward to.